What Does Not Go Up – Parashat Vayeishev

December 22, 2016 at 12:08 AM , , ,

….And it was told to Tamar, saying, “Behold, your father in law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep…” – Bereishit 38:13

״…ויוגד לתמר לאמר הנה חמיך עלה תמנתה לגז צאנו….״ – בראשית לח, יג

What Does Not Go Up
Based on the Talmud (Sotah 10a), Rashi tells us that Timnah was situated on the slope of a mountain. We thus find that while Yehuda is said to have gone up to Timnah, yet elsewhere it is said, “And Shimshon went down to Timnah (Shoftim 14:1).” Rashi explains: “You go up to Timnah when coming from one direction, but you go down to it when coming from the other.”

Besides for the simple topography being described here, Rashi’s words also contain a powerful message about one’s personal Divine worship, which the Torah compares to climbing a mountain (see Tehilim 24:3).

The Torah tells us of people going up to Timnah or going down to Timnah, but never speaks of someone stationed in Timnah or simply “going” to Timnah. For on a mountain, one is either climbing or descending. If you aren’t moving upward, you will inevitably slide in the other direction.

The same is true of commitment to G-d and His service, and for this reason Divine worship is compared to ascending a mountain. We must constantly work towards developing even deeper levels of devotion, if only to maintain even the fervor that we had in the past. For on a mountain, if you are not going up in one direction, you are likely going down in the other.

—Likutei Sichos, vol. 10, pp. 127-128


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